I find myself in the midst of a lethargic afternoon, the clouds and wind lazy like me. My mango tree waves its outermost leaves now and then, an idle greeting. Cars whoosh past on the road that leads to the sugarcane fields. I am closer to the ocean today than I have been in months, but the heat trapped in this caldera fools me into believing I am somewhere in the middle of Australia. Somewhere with vast skies, many trees, and the constant echo of bird calls bouncing off the mountains.
Time does not change this place. The passing of seasons is only realised by a new page on the calendar. Days fall away like autumn leaves in children’s books or films, for we have no deciduous trees here. Only gums and palms and fruit trees. I only notice the passage of time each time I return here, in the way I see the same things differently. I change, but this place does not. I tick off milestones, wearing them like badges on my chest. But when I return here, they go unnoticed. My big life achievements, my pieces of paper hung on the wall, mean nothing to the mountains and skies. And without the self-importance I allow myself because of them, I am forced to see myself differently here. It all begins to seem unimportant – comical even – when compared to the weight of the timelessness here. How fickle those city-dwellers are. How self-righteous, how blind. Do they not realise that none of it matters? That the passage of their lives is but the blink of an eternal eye? That all which consumes them, all that they strive for, all that they feel, has no more importance than one flutter of a butterfly’s wing? That the entirety of their lives will be over before they realise it has begun?
The afternoon drags itself by, shadows growing by millimeters.